How do you use extraverted feeling? How do you experience it? | INFJ Forum

How do you use extraverted feeling? How do you experience it?

Discussion in 'The INFJ Typology' started by John K, Mar 12, 2019.

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  1. John K

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    How do you understand and use extraverted feeling? What is it like to be on the receiving end of Fe?

    I had a lot of problems understanding the functions when I was trying to establish my type. I think one of the things that confused me was the way Fe is equated with ‘Harmony’ in many of the sources. While catchwords like this are powerful hooks that give a vivid mental image of something abstract, they can also replace the fundamental meaning with a truncated and sanitised version of it.

    I’m certainly happy that Harmony is an aspect of Fe, but surely it’s not all of it? I’d like to move away from the idea that Fe is only a good, nice function, and accept that it can be used for good or ill judgements, just like extraverted thinking. It’s hard to go against such a powerful meme though - so I’ve tried to crack it open by extending the catchword approach to 5 suggested types of Fe behaviour and mapping them onto the 5 different sorts of taste: Sweet, Salt, Savoury, Sour and Bitter. Of course, just as food can have a blend of these tastes, it seems to me that Fe can be a blend too - sweet and sour, salty savoury, etc.

    Let me know what you think ……

    2019 03 10 Extraverted Feeling Spectrum.jpg


    SWEET HARMONY is the flavour we are all familiar with: It’s I love you, you are loveable. It’s when I want you to feel good. And it’s when you make me feel good. It's ... that was a great thing you did. It’s when I forgive you. It’s when you don’t like me, but you still want good things for me. It's when I can’t thank you enough, or when I will sacrifice a lot to make you happy. It’s let’s find a way to sort this out. It’s well done! ... It’s how awful! I’m here for you .... or how pleased I am that things have worked out so well for you.

    SALTY NURTURE is the Fe that cares for people’s development: education, social skills, safety, health, spiritual growth. It’s the parent that removes a dangerous object from a child, or teaches them to share. It's the teacher who challenges misbehaviour, poor attitude. It’s a coach that pushes an athlete beyond the pain barrier in training, the manager that deliberately places a promising member of staff outside their comfort zone so they will develop. It’s the friend who challenges us when we are doing something wrong.

    SAVOURY EXPLOITATION covers a range of possibilities that run from gaining advantage through to taking advantage for an ulterior purpose. It’s the advert that says ‘buy me and you will be happy – everyone else is doing it’. It’s the politician or clergyman glad-handing, their eyes already shifting over your shoulder to the next person while their smile is still pointed at you. It’s when you mother insists you can’t have a quiet wedding because the family wants a big one. It’s when you are buying a car and you make friends with the salesman, so you and he are all nice guys and he gives you a bigger discount. It’s please fix this problem - I’m pretty upset and annoyed about it.

    SOUR SPITE is the Fe that tailgates you because you are in my way and I want you to go faster or get out of my way. It’s when you boost your self esteem by making me feel inadequate. It’s when I don’t like you and want you to know it because that gives me a kick. It’s when I want to control you for your own good - I love you, why don’t you do what I want. Or trust me - I want to scam you. Or, I need you to remain vulnerable because that feeds my feeling of self-worth

    BITTER DISCORD is the polar opposite of Harmony. It’s hate - I wish you harm. It’s destroying your ex-partners possessions after a break-up. It’s when I enjoy hurting you and making you despise yourself. It’s when they aren’t like us, they are different, rubbish, dangerous. Or, it’s when I will sacrifice a lot to harm you. Or again, it’s when I am unforgiveable / I can never forgive you. And it’s when revenge is sweet. It's when I make you obey me by compelling you with fear and pain.
     
    #1 John K, Mar 12, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  2. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    I turn Fe on for first impressions.

    Then once I have you trapped in my spiderweb, I flip on that Te switch.
     
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  3. OP
    John K

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    Sounds pretty (un) Savoury to me lol
     
    #3 John K, Mar 12, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  4. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    It's a living John.
     
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    John K

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    I think it's the way many of us work in the relevant situations, truth be known - Fe is used to smooth the way. I used to use it a lot like that building up my people networks of contacts across all the sites of the multi-national I worked for. Once you'd got the relationships going, an issue could be solved in a quarter the time it took if you hadn't got those relationships.
     
  6. Lady Jolanda

    Lady Jolanda The Queen of Sophistry
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    Oooh! This is very interesting John. You're right, Fe is usually just seen as "Sweet Harmony" and the other factors are left out. Let me go over these one by one.

    This is the Fe I love and admire. I try to live this form as much as possible, perhaps too much sometimes. (Forgiving when I shouldn't. Giving too many second chances. Making others happy over myself. Neglecting my own needs.)

    This form Fe is hit or miss for me. I like it and hate it, mostly cause I don't buy into the words "It's for your own good" (ahum, yeah right). At the same time I appreciate it. I suppose it's very good when combined with sweet harmony, less so on its own.

    This is the form of Fe that makes me want to vomit. It feels icky and I want nothing to do with it. Backstabbing twats. It's also the first form of Fe I encountered, and the only form I knew for a long time, so perhaps that's why I used to have a pretty big anti-Fe stance. (You should have seen me 10 years ago on the INTJ forums. I went on entire tirades about how Fe is manipulative, fake, group-think, coercion, untrustworthy and favoritism. Certainly Fe can be those things, but that's not all it is.)

    This form is also hit or miss for me. I have used in the past (regrettably), especially the self-esteem and self-worth boosting variants. I've mostly grown out of that. Tailgaters can die as roadkill though. If you tailgate me, and you're the only one in that lane, so it won't bother other people on the road, I'll slow down just to spite you. That's deserved punishment, lol.

    This form of Fe I'm unfortunately also all too familiar with. I used to hold grudges and fantasize about revenge. I'm not sure how far I am over this. I can take real enjoyment out of destroying bullies... I'm not really proud of it, but it almost feels like doing God's work when you're counter-bullying. But I don't want to do it anymore, cause I don't like myself when I do it.

    Yeah, I still have some work on my Fe to do. :)

    That's still Te though - utilizing Fe as a social resource for your means.
     
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  7. OP
    John K

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    That's brilliant Jo - thanks so much for such a careful walk-through. It does seems to support the model, the way you related so easily to it.

    I think the Savoury / Exploitation aspect can be either good or bad. In business meetings, meetings with suppliers, building up relationships with colleagues, the Fe is a means to an end - it's usually easier to get the outcomes that everyone wants if Fe greases the wheels of the interactions. There's quite a dash of Harmony mixed in with those sorts of examples, but the focus is on the outcomes which is why I'd put them mainly in the Exploitation camp. Mind you I've seen quite a few people who get the job done by mixing Spite with the Savoury and being effective too - a low grade use of conflict and fear as a way of getting what they want. They aren't well loved though.

    Glad-handing drives me wild though - it's so insincere.
     
  8. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    Nah uh.

    You're a social resource for your own means!

    [​IMG]
     
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    #8 Pin, Mar 13, 2019
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  9. Hostarius

    Hostarius Apostate INFJ

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    Hi John, great question.

    The thing about the cognitive functions as concepts is that they do seem to capture something meaningful, but the problem rests with the dichotomies. I think it's generally misleading to speak of such things as 'Fe' users or 'Fi' users, as if one precludes the other.

    The psychological reality seems more that human beings are wired up to be constantly evaluating the difference between their subjective experience and what appears to be objective reality. In terms of the senses, neurologists refer to this subjective-objective interplay as 'reality testing', though there's also a Freudian psychotherapeutic sense to that term, which is not what I'm referring to here.

    Jung himself also thought of introversion and extroversion to bear direct comparison to the subject/object dichotomy, but it's worth noting that he did warn against an excess of one or the other... e.g. the Dionysian risk of losing the self in the pursuit of externalities.

    This means that I think we ought to treat the cognitive functions as something like 'humours'; with psychological health resting in the balance of its aspects.

    Speaking of an 'Fe user', therefore, is almost to speak of a person imbalanced in their Feeling 'reality testing'.

    To be clear, I don't think it's proper to speak of Fe and Fi as separate functions. There is only one Feeling function - Fi-Fe - and it works by oscillating and comparing between one one feels internally and what one should be feeling by social standards; between what we observe other people to be feeling, and what we feel ourselves.

    Now, I'm not saying that it isn't meaningful to have the cognitive functions arranged in a certain order, and then to suggest that some of them are dysfunctional in one direction or another (either preferring the subjective or preferring the objective), but I am saying that it is in my view wholly misleading to separate the two halves of a whole process like this.

    In these terms, an INFJ's cognitive preferences could be expressed like this:

    Ni-Ne
    Fe-Fi
    Ti-Te
    Se-Si

    This would be to imagine an individual who prefers to intuit first, then feel, then think, then sense, with a subjective, objective, subjective, objective imbalance respectively.

    And furthermore, I think it's entirely possible for individuals to change their imbalances (or, heaven forbid, behave in a balanced way) basically depending on the day.

    All of us experience an oscillation of imbalance like this, which is why I think it's kind of ridiculous to speak of Fe on its own in this way, unless we're actually talking about individuals who are completely lost in the 'objective'/external feeling space of their community.

     
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  10. OP
    John K

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    Many thanks for your deep thoughts on this Hos. I'm much on the same page as you in many respects - that we all use all of the functions in all orientations. Let me think 'out loud' and see where this goes .....

    MBTI is a simple model of the psyche of course, not a full simulation of it, and it inevitably granularises the key concepts and set them up into 4 dichotomies in order to provide a simple map of how we work. One of the advantages of this is that it then provides some fundamental concepts and 16 type descriptions, each with an attached name, that allow us to discuss meaningfully the differences between people using a common vocabulary. Are the 16 types describing something 'real' - well I think they are as real as the differences between, say, the French and the English, or the Irish and the Americans. In a sense we are all people and are much more similar to each other than we are to, say, horses - but at the same time there are characteristic differences in culture between the nations. At the same time, there are big cultural differences within the nations, and plenty of overlap between them.

    So to Feeling - I agree that there is a single function here which is focused on making decisions based on person-centred values (Introduction to Type, Isabel Briggs Myers). It can be applied inwardly or outwardly and we all do that. However, I think the observable differences between people who are validly typed show that there is a distinct discrimination between them that is expressed through preference and competence. Ultimately, beyond our almost instinctive primary function, it comes down to what we can control consciously and effectively. I like to use the analogy of handedness - like most people I have two hands and two eyes, but I'm right handed from preference, and left-eyed (I was born with a squint and only use one eye at a time). I can use my left hand and my right eye, but it takes a huge conscious effort for me to do so - I'm pretty incompetent with them, and I tire very quickly if I use them. I can't change this by an act of will, though I can slowly develop competence in the less preferred with a lot of effort and some anxiety risk. That means that I always use my right hand for anything that needs secure control, and I never drive for more than a few yards with my right eye.

    I can see a very clear personality difference between people with INFP and ENFJ preferences and this seems to reflect the analogy I used with my handedness. I can't imagine most INFPs tolerating the unrelenting social environment of the ENFJ, and it seems unlikely to me that a well balanced ENFJ could tolerate that introverted, more solitary life of an INFP.

    If I look within myself then it's full of ambiguity. Inwardly, I fall naturally into Ni/Ti and I'm pretty good at this - to the point of addiction. I seem to fit the archetypal INFJ descriptions, and if I make a conscious effort to use Fe, as described in MBTI, it goes well on the whole - the Forum has been an incredible help and support for me in grounding this insight. In line with what you say, I've got loads of Fi as well - but unlike Ni, Ti and Fe I don't find myself living it like I do these others. It's more like Fi is a constraint for me - a sort of values road map. It may well be that most of my Fi is vicarious because I'm a pre-Vatican 2 cradle Catholic lol. I think this is very consistent with your idea that the cognitive functions are arranged in a particular order. I don't agree that the inability to use some of them is necessarily dysfunctional - any more than my inability to write with my left hand is dysfunctional. In fact there is evidence that ambidextrous people have psychological problems, and Jung himself said in Psychological Types that people who don't differentiate the functions have a primitive consciousness that places them into a life of excessively unconscious attitude.

    Does any of that make sense?

    I'm interested though in what you make of the idea that there is a dark side to Feeling. I think the spectrum of aspects of feeling that I suggested, from good to bad, is valid for both extraverted and introverted feeling, even though I expressed it only from the extroverted perspective.
     
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  11. Hostarius

    Hostarius Apostate INFJ

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    Yes I agree with this. It's a useful set of concepts at a level of abstraction which allows laypeople like us to make sense of the psyche and talk about it in meaningful ways. Indeed, like you say it seems as if a lot of the time we are able to perceive generalisable differences between individuals who present with different types, and in that sense it has a lot of meaning.

    I'm not casting doubt on the whole system, because generally I think we all understand its limitations as a abstract concept-set, but I do wonder about how legitimate the dichotomies are. The official MBTI instrument forces you to pick between one statement or another to ram you into the I/E N/S T/F P/J dichotomies, and even though this can be infuriatingly limiting in marginal cases, it nonetheless encodes a certain tautological truth to the four-letter type. The correspondence between the instrument and the type code, therefore, is acceptable. However, I do tend to take issue with the extroverted/introverted 'spin' that is given to the functions because it's a layer of speculation generally without tautological justification in the instrument itself, and of course when people try to devise and take cognitive function tests, their results are often wildly unpredictable. The only justification for imparting such 'spin' on the functions seems to be symmetry.

    For instance, take an apparently 'impossible' combination of functions:

    Ni
    Fi
    Ti
    Si

    People view the dichotomies as so concrete that they might say this combination is impossible because you have 'no way' to extrovert anything and operate in the real world, which just seems ridiculous to me based on an understanding of the function order and 'spin' merely as preferences. I can absolutely see someone as having a set of function preferences like this, because the introverted spin is merely one side of a complete function. In fact, it's funny to me that, in order to justify the order of 'spin' preferences, we have to say that someone is 'unhealthy' or 'looping' if they exhibit a double introverted order of functions (like INFJ Ni-Ti), but of course, it's not always unhealthy is it. In fact, it's rarely unhealthy. This is doubly true when we have to consider that INFJs get into unhealthy patterns with Ni-Fe, too, such as having weak boundaries, &c. I think this whole 'looping' thing is bullshit, to be honest, and just a fiction created off the back of the symmetry. There are healthy and unhealthy expressions of all the function combinations, and this cannot be predicted by your type, and, more crucially, should not be avoided because of what you 'think' you know about your 'personality'. I worry that people could actually drive themselves into unfulfilling careers and things based on this shit.

    I mean, take @Ren, who we know from his videos (sorry to use you as an example, mate). What functions do we actually see him using most of the time? Ni, Ti, Fi, Si, Fe. Oh he's clearly a brain in a jar then... :p.

    Oooookay, sorry, now I can answer your question. :tearsofjoy: Before I start talking about the 'dark side to Fe', though, I need to add a disclaimer that I'm not referring to my experience with anyone I know on here or in real life. I'm drawing from some personal experience, definitely, but it's based on people I only ever really knew in passing (except one, someone from my time teaching, who I'll talk about).

    Yes, I agree with you - I think the functions are entirely morally neutral, and can have both positive and negative expressions depending on the person. I like your spectrum, too, which seems to capture this.

    So... I agree with @Lady Jolanda here about some prejudices I've picked up about Fe. I'm not going to try to systematise my thoughts here, John, because you've done a great job of that already, so I'll just give you my take.

    Yes, 'dark Fe' is a bitch, and I fucking hate it. I equate it with cowardice, manipulation, self-serving sycophancy, dishonesty, falsity and disgusting supine servility. I'll give you a couple of examples from my teaching job (because irl right now the most I say to anyone is 'flat white, please'):

    1) The Selfish Coward
    This guy was an assistant principal in my school, and a nice man on the whole. I think he was something like xxFJ. However, his inability to challenge the principal or cause any kind of fuss meant that he pushed through illegal policies and facilitated the fraud of the academy trust CEO, to keep his cushy job. He ran from confrontation as a deflection tactic, asking people to 'talk with him after' whatever meeting we were in. I hate this terminology, but he was a classic 'beta orbiter'; a disgustingly servile creature sucking the cock of evil to fill his belly with its filthy lucre. In his case, 'Fe' was used to deflect resistance and ensure compliance; a mask of 'professionalism' used to obscure literal illegality. Fe has this tendency to normalise really bad shit if it seems to be socially acceptable, and so there were a lot of 'Fe users' in my school who engaged in toxic behaviours because it had this quality of the 'normal'.

    2) The Fe Aggressor
    This was my head of department, and he had weaponised Fe. I strongly suspect that he was a narcissist, but otherwise extremely incompetent masked behind a veneer of jocular friendliness and all the correct social prestige markers. He ruined lives to get what he wanted, but had a superficial charm and an easy manner that put peoples' guard down. He would touch people in a 'friendly way' that creeped me out because in actuality it was a power move. He would buy gifts for people which seemed genuine, but actually he just wanted to control them with guilt. People would do his work for him because of the emotions he elicited in them.

    So yeah... actually the biggest cunts I've known have all been Fe users I think... snakes, cowards and manipulators. An Fi bastard is generally easier to spot because they 'stand apart', they're more belligerent, &c.

    I think this picture summarises dark Fe and good Fi, the classic August Landmesser.
    August Landmesser.jpg
    P.S. I reckon Oscar Schindler was an Fe user, though, for comparison of 'good Fe'.
     
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  12. Hostarius

    Hostarius Apostate INFJ

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    I memed it up...
    Fi FTW.jpg
     
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  13. OP
    John K

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    @Hostarius I hope you don't mind me looking at what you have said with a rather analytical eye, but it's such a vindication of what I was trying to say - except that you have attached a 1000 watt amplifier to the music! Feeling judgement isn't just harmony - it can cause great disharmony and damage too, and because it's focused on people values and their antithesis the damage it can cause is all the more traumatic. 'A wizard should know better' to quote Treebeard at Isengard.



    Fortunately, at least in my own life, the most common manifestations of feeling judgement are not at the dark extremes of spite and discord, though I have seen my share of those. Mostly they are positive. Or they are neutral or just slightly negative, which is simply the way we oil the wheels of our everyday interactions with the world in order to do the ordinary routine things that make up our lives.
     
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  14. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    That much Fi and Si? Interesting. I am conscious (more or less) of using Si but I often feel like I suck at using Fi lol. Perhaps I use it more than I realize.
     
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  15. Hostarius

    Hostarius Apostate INFJ

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    I'm not sure on the order, there, but we definitely see you reflecting on your feelings an awful lot - having said that, though, it's what we would expect from a video diary format, right?

    The point is that all of those Introverted functions are balanced with an extroverted expression. When you use Ti, for instance, there's still a reflex to investigate its truth value and utility (Te). Your Fi use is tempered with an exploration of how others feel (Fe), too. A lot of the time when you talk about how you feel (Fi) or do things, you'll compare yourself with your brother or mother, &c. (Fe).

    There is thus a reflexivity to our function use that is rarely mentioned I think.
     
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    John K

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    I wonder if you could say a bit more about this Hos. The feeling function is essentially rational - a judging decision making faculty, so it isn’t just the emotions themselves but the use of human values, which are emotion charged, in a judging process. That’s how it becomes subject to moral evaluation along the spectrum I implied in my OP.

    I think you could well right about @Ren - that he may well use Fi in a self-assessment process that he then shares in his videos. Am I understanding you correctly, both about the nature of Feeling and about the way he uses it?
     
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  17. Hostarius

    Hostarius Apostate INFJ

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    Yes.

    So in terms of Fe, for example, what I'm saying is that when we use it, we're actually just leading with the Fe part of the Fe-Fi cycle/system.

    Actually, I'll just tell you how I'm visualising it :tongueout:. I imagine the 'Feeling function' as a circle or ring, with one hemicycle Fe, and the other Fi. I imagine the feeling function as a point on this ring revolving around it, constantly oscillating between Fe and Fi, each testing the other to arrive at a 'balanced feeling'. So there is no 'separate process', just differentiated stages of a singular process.

    Sure we could imagine an individual with an imbalance of this process, where they focus overmuch on one side or the other - and here we could imagine that the ring is 270 degrees Fe and only 90 Fi, if you see what I mean.
     
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  18. Hostarius

    Hostarius Apostate INFJ

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    Or you could represent the travel on the ring as a waveform in 2D space.
     
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  19. Wyote

    Wyote Con Risa Absoluta
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    Everyone's is a little unbalanced.
    Some cycle faster. Some are more oval.
     
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  20. OP
    John K

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    That fits pretty well with how it looks to me too. I think there is another dimension too, though, which is to do with how we apply a function as well how we employ it - the object it is directed towards as much as the tool in our hands. For example, I can use Fi to deny or affirm my own worth, and I can use Fe to do the same with others.
     
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